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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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June 16, 2024

5 things to watch: No. 1 Alabama vs No. 22 Texas A&M

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Photo by Photo by Abby Collida

Sophomore quarterback Kellen Mond was sacked once by the Warhawks’ defense. 

1.) Covering the spread
Texas A&M has exceeded expectations early in the season and will continue to improve. The game against Clemson was a prime example of how well A&M can cover the spread, and play at the highest of levels. This week’s matchup is no different. Alabama has not played a top 25 team this season, and definitely not one as well coached as the Aggies. A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher is well aware of the system that the Crimson Tide will run, having coached with Nick Saban when they were both at LSU. Expect a close and competitive game this weekend in Tuscaloosa.
2.) Mond vs. Tagovailoa
The quarterback situation in Tuscaloosa has been a roller coaster over the past six months. However, one thing is clear — Tua Tagovailoa is the best signal caller Nick Saban has had in his tenure. Tagovailoa has ascended to stardom in an astoundingly short time as starting quarterback. He holds first place in the Heisman race and leads the nation right now in total QBR. Kellen Mond has done a very similar job in College Station. He has risen every week in QBR rankings, proving himself to be a force and hard to read at times. Mond has had a few lucky bounces this season, but it’s clear he is improving every week. With a strong performance and a win this weekend, he could find himself in the Heisman race very soon.
3.) A&M’s front five presence
If these past three weeks have proven anything defensively, it’s that the front can make big-time plays happen. The biggest challenge for the front will be creating pressure on Tagovailoa, who hasn’t missed more than six throws in any given game this season. At the same time, the best opponent that Alabama has played this year is a weaker Ole Miss squad. The Crimson Tide will run the ball, but that’s definitely on the back burner in terms of offensive production. A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko has done a good job coaching and emphasizing physicality. It will make the difference in these huge games coming down the stretch.
4.) Breakout in the run game
Trayveon Williams has become one of the prime running backs to watch out for this year, and he is set to have a breakout game in a big environment. Williams struggled in the Clemson game against the best defensive line in the country, but he may be able to put up some big yards against this Alabama defense. He won’t be alone. Freshman Jashaun Corbin has also complemented this offense well, with flashes of greatness on the few runs he has had this year. Be looking out for him and another solid performance from Kwame Etwi.
5.) Another battle in the trenches
It’s part two along the line of scrimmage this Saturday. Alabama has been known to have phenomenal offensive and defensive lines in years past, but the Aggies plan to put them to the test. Trayveon Williams and Kellen Mond will depend on the A&M offensive line to maintain a pocket and create holes to make big plays. Alabama defensive end Raekwon Davis will be the main threat to Mond’s passing game, but he can be held up if he rushes too aggressively. Mond may be on the run a little more than in past games, but he can definitely make some big plays.

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